wagon wheel at Stone Mountain in GA, taken by M.J. Lavin in spring, 2003

I used to think that I was pretty good at making pictures, but then I realized that I’m not. I stopped taking pictures, but now I understand that even if I’m not good at it, I can still enjoy it. So I’m going to start posting a few thumbnails here. When they are linked to full-size images, I’ll indicate that. This first one isn’t, by the by.

Feds Give Private Spaceship Go-Ahead to Expand Flight Testing


By Leonard David

Senior Space Writer

posted: 02:00 pm ET 07 April 2004

image used without permission, original is here (

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) has given license approval to Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, permitting the firm to expand flight testing of SpaceShipOne — a privately-financed rocket plane to carry passengers to suborbital altitude.

SpaceShipOne, built by Scaled Composites is being led by aircraft designer Burt Rutan, who heads the company. The rocket plane and its carrier mothership, the White Knight, were unveiled on April 18, 2003. Since that time, the craft has undergone extensive piloted glide tests and one powered flight. Read More…

Google Gmail Privacy Concerns? Get Over It

People are complaining about gmail, google’s proposed 1-gig storage web-based email service. While I think that being concerned about privacy is a legit way to spend your time, I don’t think that gmail is going to threaten my privacy. Having a search engine locate keywords and serve me a text ad isn’t very intrusive. I believe google when they say that they aren’t going to associate my ID with the keywords that are found. Beyond all that, though… if you aren’t using encryption, what makes you think that your email is private now? If hackers, corporations, or the feds want to read your mail, archive it, detect patterns in it… they can. The US government is almost certainly “reading” mail now… certainly overseas email, and I would be very surprised if domestic mail isn’t scanned. All in the name of national security, of course! Forget gmail… worry about Uncle Sam.